By JORGE "Ka Oris" MADLOS
On the 125th year commemoration of the International Day of Labor, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao salutes all Filipino workers. We honor the heroes and martyrs of the militant and revolutionary labor movement in the country and around the world who have set a great example of dedication and revolutionary fervor for the emancipation of the proletariat and other toiling classes from the throes of exploitation and oppression.
Under a semi-colonial and semi-feudal Philippines, the Filipino proletariat, who comprise 15% of the populace, are placed at the very altar of exploitation and oppression to satiate the hunger for super profit of foreign monopoly capitalists and their counterpart local comprador bourgeoisie. Blood, sweat, and toil have been expended by millions of workers to grind the very machines that drain them of their blood, yet alienate them from the fruits of their labor.
Filipino workers within the country and abroad suffer deeply as they continue to receive slave wages, while big capitalists extract large profits from surplus labor. To serve this purpose, imperialist firms and their local counterparts have imposed such "flexible' labor schemes as contractualization, casualization and outsourcing. Unionization has virtually been barred ever since these schemes came into play, depriving them of a weapon against intense exploitation, oppression and deprivation. Their right to organize has been stifled using state-imposed anti-labor policies and outright fascism.
In Mindanao, workers suffer from extremely low wages and risky working conditions. They receive an average of about P240/daily for plantation and non-plantation workers, a mere pittance that can barely sustain a family of 6 given the daily cost of living for 2010 at P957.
The continuing policy exporting Filipino workers overseas for the much-needed "remittances" has reached a terrible backlash as hundreds of OFWs suffer from the violent strife in other countries, such as in the Middle East and North Africa. Worse, no sustainable work awaits them upon their return to replace the one they lost abroad.
Not since the Marcos regime were the workers in the country given a significant wage increase. And such cannot be hoped for at present because the US-backed Aquino regime has no concrete plans of alleviating Filipino workers both here and abroad from their terrible plight. The best that it could do for Labour Day is to offer workers a lame non-wage package.
Given Noynoy Aquino's familial ties, his government has become an apologist and protector for foreign monopoly capitalists and big bourgeois compradors, like Danding Cojuanco and Lucio Tan, and others who own agri-business plantations, mining firms, logging concessions and other big businesses. Much like his predecessor, Mr. Aquino will also tear down the ever-building demand for just wages and benefits, security of tenure, and a truly nationalized industry.
Certainly, with the reactionary state's continued implementation of anti-labor measures and policies, Noynoy's populist visage — one of pretense and deceit – is fast being unmasked, revealing, quite contrary to his namesake, a fetid anti-Filipino whose allegiance is solely to his imperialist master and not to workers. Mr. Aquino must be exposed, and vigorously opposed, for the anti-worker that he is!
In the past, Filipino workers have defended their interests against intense exploitation and repression through its ultimate weapon — the labor strike. However, recently, US imperialist, in collusion with the local ruling classes through the reactionary state have invented and imposed such laws the assumption of jurisdiction (AJ), which ironically takes the strike to their advantage to justify labor suppression and the retrenchment of struggling workers, leaving hundreds, even millions, hapless without work.
Given this, the exploiting classes desperately bear down on the Filipino proletariat to leave them defenseless and reduce them to docility. However, sprung from the long history of proletarian struggle, a vibrant and fighting option is available for the Filipino worker: Join the New People's Army in waging a national-democratic revolution and lead the whole exploited classes toward complete liberation!
Long live the Filipino proletariat!